Norristown Launches Citizens Leadership Academy

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Via Press Release:


NORRISTOWN, PA - Norristown Municipality launches the Citizens Leadership Academy this fall. The eight-week academy is a series of classes offered to Norristown residents or business owners to help develop skills as a community leader and understanding of how municipal government operates. Graduates of the Citizens Leadership Academy may go on to leadership roles on municipal boards, commissions and Council.

Municipal staff will conduct the sessions with focus on three major themes: Education, Leadership Development, and Communication Dynamics. Relevant information will enable citizens to understand how municipal departments serve the community, and understand the processes involved as stated by Crandall Jones, Norristown Municipal Administrator. “A significant element of improving community quality of life is citizens understanding how local government works. CLAs are great tools for creating a cadre of informed and committed volunteers and community leaders.”


The Citizens Leadership Academy is free of charge. The Fall 2014 session will be held 6:00pm to 7:30pm on Thursdays, starting September 25 through November 13, 2014, at the Municipal Building. Participants must complete a minimum of six of the eight classes to receive the Citizens Leadership Academy certificate. The certificate will be given in a closing ceremony at the December 2nd council meeting.
Interested participants should submit an application to the Municipality by September 12th. Applications are available online at norristown.org or at Municipal Hall. Class size is limited to twenty spaces and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
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CONTACT:
Gabriela Prete, Public Information Officer 
Municipality of Norristown 
610.270.0429
235 East Airy Street
Norristown, PA 19401

Support Dragon Boat Club!

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As you may know by now, Dragon Boat Club and Riverfront took a nasty hit from the last rain storm. With another storm on the way we can only cross our fingers that no more damage happens to the organization. DBC has been very active in the community and shares the same philosophy as TNP...organizations should not compete, instead work together, for a better Norristown. We worked with the group on a cleanup and met a few times about possible activities to do in the community. Today, we are sharing an activity they are doing to raise funds and we are asking for you to support them.

On May 24th and 25th, Dragon Boat Club will host a Flea market on Airy and Dekalb from 8am - 3pm. They are looking for vendors to pay $20.00 day / $30.00 both days. Money raised will help benefit the organization for future events. For more information, email info@dragonboatclub.org.

Also, TNP will head to Riverfront Park for a cleanup on May 25th immediately after as a part of #CleanupNorristown week. So if you're paying attention, that is a big weekend for their organization. Volunteers will be asked to cleanup the park and debris swept up from the previous storm to prepare the park for the Summer. If anyone has visited Riverfront Park, you know many boaters use the grounds in the warmer months to park their cars and head out on the boats. We don't want them coming to a dirty park, so let's spruce it up!

Volunteers of all ages are welcomed to attend on May 25th at 3pm. Members of DBC will be late since they will be wrapping up at the flea market, so volunteers are asked to get their early so we have time to complete everything that needs to be done. The cleanup will be very simple, but huge for them. Like I said before, they were hit the hardest with the flooding, let's come together as a community and help them get back on their feet!

Celebrity Ambassador Announced

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Press Release

Norristown, May 14th, 2014:  The Norristown Project is thrilled to have Katja as our spokesperson effective immediately. This partnership came to reality a month ago when The Norristown Project (TNP) Founder Shae Ashe reached out to her management pitching the idea. Both TNP and Katja Glieson have similar missions when it comes to reaching out to others. Katja will be the official spokesperson to encourage teens and young adults to never give up on your goals; whether it's seeing a better reputation for Norristown or pursuing your career goals. TNP also plans on bringing her to Norristown for a concert and special appearances for our volunteers. Details on when the concert will take place will be announced at a later date.

About Katja Glieson

The young starlet Katja Glieson is the Australian pop princess gaining international attention for her music and ‘pop series’ of music videos, with her urban pop caramel voice and her ‘naughty but nice’ cheeky grin. This young singer/dancer/actress/writer has just moved to Hollywood, California, after leaving her home and family back in Australia and giving it all to her dreams. Katja sees living her passion and dream of entertaining and performing her music and art as a way of connecting with people to make a difference to their lives.
Katja endured consistent bullying from her peers due to being overweight; as a result, she found solace in singing and songwriting. But this didn’t stop Katja from being heavily involved in the limited arts programs at her school, taking up drama, dance and music. As she moved forward, she noticed the opportunities at the public school she attended were limited, so she took it upon herself to write and direct in her own productions to give her peers the opportunity to experience acting, singing and dancing as well.

Today, Katja is determined to bring awareness to the childhood obesity epidemic and promote healthy living. Through her experiences, Katja has developed wisdom well beyond her years and often speaks out about her experiences on bullying. Katja sees living her passion and dream of entertaining and performing her music and art as a way of connecting with people to make a difference to their lives. She is all about the truth and expression of emotion behind the lyrics and behind her performance. A natural at making people feel loved and honored no matter what they’ve done, she hypnotizes her audiences with her charisma, love and stage presence. To bring the message that no matter what you’ve done or what has been done to you, you still get to create your dreams and be loved.

Her music videos have won various awards, such as Best Music Video 2013 at the California International Shorts Film Festival, The Wild Ace Award at Las Vegas Film Festival, Gold Award at Beat 100, The Ultimate Musician Award with Beat 100 as well as being nominated at Phoenix Comicon, Shockfest, World Music and Independent Film Festival, officially selected to be involved with LA PRIDE (Mainstage Performance June 2014), Capital PRIDE, Brooklyn PRIDE, The School Tour, PACE Tour, MAD Music Tour, Be The Game Anti-bullying, Britticare, SXSW with GoGirls Music, FemaleFlow, Klickpush, Coast2Coast, The Chris Black Show, The Dutch Guy, Conrad’s Corner Radio Show, Melody’s FlipCam Webisodes, NBC Radio, CBS Radio, Indie 100 Radio, and many others, as well as official spokesperson for the Love All Humans movement and The Norristown Project.

About The Norristown Project

The Norristown Project (TNP) is a volunteer-based organization located in Norristown, Pennsylvania. The program was created by life-long resident Shae Ashe who was fed up with all the complaints and negative stories coming from a town he takes pride in. To address the problems Norristown faces, Shae became proactive by coming up with ways to fix those problems with a smile on his face and with volunteers who shared the same passion. The project launched as a campaign on Indiegogo, and then by May, the first community project was hosted. Today, TNP focuses on community cleanup, development, engagement, and event management.


For additional information, visit www.montcooic.org/Katja-Glieson.html

Ready for Some Fireworks?

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Each year, Norristown has a problem with coming up with enough money to fund a fireworks show in town. As money continues to become tight for the municipality, it's time to start thinking of creative ways to raise money for the annual show. Last year, we were lucky to have a donation from Valley Forge Casino. But will we be lucky this year? Or will we even need luck? Now, not June, is the time we should know whether or now we will have a fireworks show.

Becoming a Commuter-Friendly Community

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Can you imagine Norristown's streets flooded with bikes/pedestrians instead of cars? Can you imagine a day when our sidewalks and bike trails are plowed before our roads? This past weekend I traveled Washington, D.C. and noticed a growing trend that's happening in cities across the US. I saw more bikes, Segways and pedestrians walking. D.C. is known for the worst traffic outside NYC due to all the traffic restrictions and national landmarks. However, this doesn't stop people from visiting the city. Today, I will talk about a popular bikeshare program and why we could use a similar program in Norristown.

What Alfredo's Can Do for Norristown's Image

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The story broke yesterday on the Times Herald of a reality TV series pilot that was filmed at Alfredo's in hopes of making it into a season. The story quickly spread with cheer, pride and memories. In the article, the owner talked about how it can be a good thing for Norristown, and they are right. As a community looking to expand on the arts and entertainment, maybe a TV series can be the "big break" Norristown needs.

There's a ton of pieces to the story that we need to understand before looking at the benefits a TV show could bring to the area. First, let's start off by saying it's only a dream as of now. The pilot(first episode) has been filmed and only the pilot. The company owning the rights to the project still has to pitch it to networks to be ordered for a series. Since the May Upfronts are weeks away, chances are it won't be picked up during this cycle but maybe for November. Typically film companies won't hold on to that pilot after a year before they drop it. Fun fact: I was in a TV Drama pilot that was ordered by CBS and transferred to the CW. However, like many other pilots, it was canceled before we were able to film the rest of the season. :(

Now here is where Norristown can benefit... taxes and jobs. If the unnamed pilot gets picked up, production would most likely begin immediately for 3-4 months at a time. A crew would be hired to film the TV show as well as security and extras (yes, reality tv has background actors to make the store look busy sometimes). Most of these jobs will come locally, especially if this film company is based in New York City. Taxes  for the show would have to be paid to the municipality as if it were a new business. Depending on how successful the show becomes, that could mean big bucks for the community.

Traffic at not only Alfredo's, but other Norristown businesses will begin to increase as fans will come to Norristown just to see the place. An example can be the former show, Jersey Shore. When filming was going on, everyone wanted to travel to Seaside Heights, NJ in hopes to be on camera or meet one of the stars. The same would happen for Alfredo's as everyone would want to see the bickering staff in person. If you haven't visited Alfredo's, you really are missing out on the food and entertainment!

Media and publicity will also come to the town in a big way if a network like A&E, TruTV, or Spike picks up the series. Of course, local news, radio and television would pick up the story as the show gains in popularity. Who knows? Maybe Alfredo's will become the next Wahlburgers!

So here's what we should take out from Alfredo's and the possibility of it becoming a TV show:

  • Don't expect the series to air on TV immediately
  • There is only a chance the show may get on air
  • If you haven't visited Alfredo's for their creamed chip beef, you should
  • Publicity for Alfredo's will bring attention to Norristown in a big way
  • TV shows filmed in a town are good for taxes and employment stability
We wish Alfredo's all the best and hope a series can come to fruition. In the meantime, visit the restaurant on Main Street across from CVS!


You can read the story on the Times Herald here: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20140423/staff-at-alfredos-restaurant-in-norristown-could-become-reality-tv-stars

TNP Announces Norristown Recycles Day

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One day to educate. One day to motivate. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year. in honor of earth month, TNP would like to announce another special project we are working on for the fall. it is called Norristown Recycles Day and will consist of a huge day of recycling and learning about recycling. 

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

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Remember the nursery rhyme Rain, Rain, Go Away...? Yeah, we're singing that right now! The Norristown project as well as the municipality will host an Earth Day Cleanup Blitz on Tuesday and guess what day of the week it's suppose to rain? Early weather reports are calling for a 70% chance of rain in the afternoon which may scare some volunteers away. But we're here to say we won't let Mother Nature keep us inside when we're just trying to clean her up!


As of now, tomorrow's Earth Day cleanup will go on as planned. I can't speak for the municipality but I am assuming they are playing by ear as well, they have a painting project that may wash away so be sure to follow them on Facebook for any updates for their project. 

The maps on NOAA (better than Weather Channel) are showing a shower arriving later in the afternoon. Our project falls right in the middle of that since we will start at 10am and go until 1pm. If the rain doesn't arrive earlier, we will go ahead and continue the cleanup project until the start of rain. We have done this approach before and it has been successful. I always tell volunteers, any work is better than no work. TNP always has a goal of the amount of ground we would like to cover. The only time we haven't met our goal is because of the threat of rain, however, volunteers and the community were still pleased at the outcome.

Whether the rain allows us to clean one block or ten, we will be doing our part at keeping Norristown beautiful and doing our part on Earth Day. So we will have our cleanup as planned and try to accomplish as much as possible. Any work that can not be completed will be added to a future cleanup.

Montgomery County OIC and The Norristown Project looks forward to seeing you tomorrow as we continue to clean up Norristown. If it rains earlier than 10am, give us a call at 610-279-9700 for any updates. If the event is completely rained out, we will set a rescheduled date and cover the same area. There may be a possibility for later in the evening on Saturday so stay tuned.

Details 
When: Tuesday, April 22nd from 10am-1pm
Where: Meet at 1101 Arch Street (OIC building). 
What: Earth Day cleanup. Volunteers will start at the OIC and work their way out into the community picking up trash and debris.
RSVP: Email NorristownProject@gmail.com

Earth Day Cleanup to Be Held on Tuesday

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TNP's first cleanup held last June on Green Street
Happy Friday! Today's blog is quick to talk about our first cleanup of the Spring happening on Tuesday and why you should come volunteer. I also want to mention that our community calendar is currently on a hiatus..I am working on something new with it to help create a more uniform calendar. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I encourage you to head over to Norristown.org to stay in the loop.

On Tuesday, The Norristown Project will co-host a community cleanup with the municipality, Montgomery County OIC and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. This cleanup is a part of the Great American Cleanup which encourages businesses and organizations to clean the community around them and take pride in our environment. 

So when Norristown Municipality sent a call to all business owners and non-profits, TNP stepped up to the plate immediately. Not because volunteer events are our specialty...but simply because we are a member of Norristown and we should do our part. Several local businesses, PennDOT and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful were generous enough to donate supplies for volunteers to make this a success. 

Here's a quick run through of the day's activities: Municipal employees will begin at Elmwood Park first thing in the morning to clean up the park and give the band shell a fresh coat of paint. Their plan is to clean the entire park. TNP and OIC will lead the second part of the cleanup from 10-1 beginning at the OIC and working our way out into the surrounding community. The majority of the work will be collecting trash and debris so we should be able to cover alot of ground. I am asking volunteers who plan on attending to email me a quick note so I can organize the group. You can RSVP by emailing NorristownProject@gmail.com

The meeting location for TNP's cleanup will be at the OIC located at 1101 Arch Street on the 2nd floor. This is the old Hancock School if you're unsure of where that is. You can't miss it! Parking is available from our Basin Street entrance. 

Next year when Earth Day comes around again (because it will), I hope to see more than just a handful of groups participating. The more businesses that participate and host a cleanup each Earth Day, the more ground we can cover in Norristown. 

I understand that a Tuesday is a difficult day for a cleanup to happen, but now you have a heads up for 2015. Earth Day will happen on a Wednesday next year, mark your calendars, request off work and plan to attend! 

The Norristown Project will also host more events in conjunction with national cleanup campaigns. We have a full schedule that we have yet to release. We want to keep you on the edge of your seats guessing! I can tell you that we will be very busy this Summer. For now, I will let you know that in the fall, we will host a huge recycling event so stay tuned.

I thank you in advance for volunteering this Earth Day. Remember, we only have one! Also, I would like to thank Gabriela with Norristown Municipality for coordinating this year's cleanup! We look forward to working with you on Tuesday and for future events.

UPDATE | Describe Norristown in One Word

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Happy Throwback Thursday. You may be wondering why I have a picture of a Zep and call this post a Throwback Thursday, and you will soon figure out why. Norristown is a place of many identities, traditions, triumphs and tragedies. We have all seen things come and go...then come back and go again. But one thing that will never go away is the tradition of the Norristown Zep!

Norristown's most prized possession is the Zep! Sorry if you're reading this close to lunchtime. When I lived in Florida, my roommates approached me and said "why are you making your sub that way?" I quickly took offense and sat them down to explain a REAL sandwich and how the mess they get from Subway is an insult to the real deal. Well not exactly like that, but you get it. I was passionate about something that can only be found in Norristown.

It was like when I tried explaining Wawa when the first store opened in Orlando. They squirmed when I gave them the idea of gas station food, until they tried it! I made them a Zep and guess what they began to make each day for lunch!?

Point is, our Zep is a tradition we should be very proud of and we should share more often. When growing up, there were dozen of sandwich shops in Norristown that made Zeps. I guarantee if I were to ask, we will all have a different answer for the best in town. 

When you discuss Norristown making a comeback and creating an identity, a simple Zep can be the answer. Sounds crazy, right? Well it isn't when you look at the other things we are known for today. When surrounding towns are asked to describe Norristown in one word, you're given response that most likely has something to do with anything negative. So how can we change that? One word...FOOD!

Up until the 90s, Norristown once held a festival dedicated to the Zep where businesses came together to feature their best Zep as a competition. This went away for one reason or another and I hope to see it make its return. 

If we begin to host an annual ZepFest and highlight our remaining sandwich shops that still make the traditional Zep, we will begin to attract more outsiders for lunch. Remember the new expansion project happening on Lafayette to connect us with the turnpike? Think of a families passing by on vacation stopping at the Norristown exit just to buy a Zep from Lou's. 

But first, we need to market the Zep. Going back to my story with my roommates, I had to educate them on what the sandwich was. I hate sourcing Wikipedia, but if you were to read about Norristown on wiki, you won't find one sentence talking about Norristown being the origin of the Zep. Today, Zeps can be found all over Montgomery County, but there's no argument that it started in Norristown with Eve's and Lou's. So why not parade that around?

The first mission of Norristown Business Association is... Promote business growth by offering programs designed to strengthen and expand the income potential of businesses within the area. (src. http://www.norristownba.org/). So I encourage NBA to promote the growth of our small sandwich shops to expand revenue in the area. Promote the Zeps along with the other great food in Norristown!

So I can talk all day about how much of an asset a simple sandwich is for Norristown, but I will leave the rest up to you. Remind Norristown why we should start talking about our hidden gem and share it with the outside world!

Update: I changed the picture to represent Norristown's Zep. Which is a kaiser or round bread instead of a hoagie roll like surrounding towns do.
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